I somehow forgot to start the work for this week of evo, so caught up that I’ve been in exploring Second Life. The task was to simply use one of the vocabulary lists I made in previous weeks and try to create some activities to accompany these lists.For my 2nd graders and middle school beginners, I like http://www.spellingcity.com and Classtools.

I made these activities on Spelling City for my 2nd grade students:

I also made a Wall Wisher for my 7th grade students, and another Spelling City list for my middle school beginner students.  This has also given me an excuse to go back and work on the class website that I started at the beginning of the school year but never finished.  I’ll post everything there during the fifth and final week of the course.

This week village 11 focused on simulated real-life scenes, recreations of historical monuments, real life places, and active communities in Second Life.  My schedule didn’t allow me to attend many tours this week, but I did make it to Paris 1900 and Arachon.  Unfortunately, the lag in the Paris tour today didn’t allow me to enjoy it much, but I had visited it before, one morning when we had a snow day, and it’s awesome!  As both places use French, I got to practice my listening, although it’s been too long for me to dare to speak!  I have a whole list of places to visit as I have the time, which I’ll post here (so I won’t forget that I want to visit them):

Some require you to dress in authentic period clothing.  I keep thinking “if I had students I could use this with…”  A fellow teacher suggested only the teacher having access to SL, while the RL students watch on.  This could work with my younger students, who get excited about anything that’s even partially new (which I love btw!), but I think the older students would get bored fairly fast.  None of it matters for the time being, since the Internet connection is way too slow, and I’m sure SL is blocked, but you never know what the future may bring.  For now, I’m content learning what I can about language teaching and learning in SL.

After continued problems accessing the VILLAGE Grouply site (is my connection really THAT bad?  can I blame it on the snow?), I’ve decided to comment on my Second Life experience here.  I think it can be summed up nicely in a list:

  1. Wow.  That’s awesome.  How can I have had an avatar for 1,333 days (3 and a half years) and not have taken more time to learn how to use it?
  2. Wow.  Time consuming.
  3. Wow.  I can go shopping in Second Life when there’s too much snow to go shopping here.  Second Life has even been nice enough to decline all my credit accounts so I can’t buy anything and have to hunt around for free stuff.
  4. Wow.  University of Cincinnati exists in SL AND they’ll give me stuff for free!  Why couldn’t they have done that in RL?
  5. Wow.  I could teach here, really!  Just have to find myself some students that are old enough!

In the past three weeks, I’ve learned most of the basics, although I’m sure there’s more, become a shopaholic, found out how to rez prims, build basic structures, teleport, explore, and gone on a lot of tours with fellow language teachers.  I’m slowly understanding different ways that I could use SL with RL students, although I’m finding it a little overwhelming at times.

Check out some of my photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

The Globe Theatre in Language Lab

MacBeth Throne Room

On a killing spree in MacBeth

Getting ready to hang glide in EduNation III

The vocabulary assembly line is:

  1. Generate a word list
  2. Generate definitions
  3. Sort the list for batch entry
  4. Make repetition fun
  5. Generate pronunciation and spelling exercises
  6. Generate examples of usage in context
  7. Create associations
  8. Link to an image
  9. Link to a location
  10. Link to an emotion
  11. Be memorable
  12. Put it all together

First, we made a vocabulary list and generated definitions for the list using Wordsmyth.  Then we used SortMyList to organize and format the list. Finally, we used Google Translate in an L1 that would be useful for our students and posted the results on the course wiki.  Here’s my final list, which I made to go with the unit I’ll hopefully start with my beginner middle school ESL students this week as long as we don’t have any more snow days!  I went ahead and made changes to the translation given to me by Google Translate, which I don’t think I’d ever use for this purpose, since it took more time to edit the list and get it to post correctly to the wiki than to translate it myself!

I’d seen most of the tools presented this week at one point or another,  but it had been a while since I’d played with some of them.  The task for this week was to try at least 2 of the tools, so I decided to combine several of them together.

I got the text for the story for “The Happy Prince” from Project Gutenberg, and found an audio version on LibrivoxLessonwriter.com was used to make the activities, but unfortunately didn’t let me keep the text changes I had made (highlighted where the characters spoke and who was speaking; spaces between paragraphs). It also has a limit of 800 words per text.  “The Happy Prince” is 3,000 some words, so I might make several lessons and then combine them all by hand.

I also found a nice blog entry with images to go with the story along the way.

Here’s the link student activity portion of the lesson.  I was happy to see that Lessonwriter now includes options for differentiation!

What are your thoughts on using the seven principles of memorization as a factor in creating vocabulary lesson and/or employing these in your vocabulary instruction?  

  1. Timed repetition
  2. Link to an image
  3. Associate elements
  4. Link to a location
  5. Link to an emotion
  6. Be memorable
  7. Be brief

I think that I use all seven principles of memorization in my classes, although sometimes the lessons are not as memorable as I would like them to be. I find it much easier to be memorable with the 2nd graders I teach than with the middle school students, mostly because the materials are rich in images and associations, as well as project work, from the start. The middle school materials are much less visually pleasing, and require a lot of adaptation. Having (or making) concrete objects for my beginning students is always a plus.

When working with content-area vocabulary (tier 3), I try to use the six steps for teaching academic vocabulary:

  1. The teacher gives a description, explanation, or example of the new term.
  2. The teacher asks the learners to give a description, explanation, or example of the new term in their own words.
  3. The teacher asks the learners to draw a picture, symbol, or locate a graphic to represent the new term.
  4. The learners participate in activities that provide more knowledge of the word.
  5. The learners discuss the term with other learners
  6. Multiple exposures to the word.

The school I was at last year emphasized using this process, along with a lot of graphic organizers. Not so different from the seven principles…

I’m still learning how to get the most out of my Mac, and loving every minute of it! I wanted to find some music videos in Spanish to use in my classes, and this ended up being even easier than it was with my PC.

If you’re using Safari, there’s an easy way to download YouTube videos. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window. If you’re also loading other sites, you’ll see a list of them: scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded. You will see an item that is over 0.5MB. Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder and add the extension .flv to its name if necessary. That’s it!